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By: BJ Murphy
English III Mrs. Graham January 9th, 2008
Hello! My name is BJ Murphy and what I’m here writing is to bring some light into the truth of marijuana to hopefully give out enough information that may just give it the push needed to legalize it after its long shady past. I have been doing research on this particular subject for quite a while now and since starting I have come to realize that what
we’ve been told about the supposable dangerous drug called marijuana isn’t what we may think. So I’m here to speak out about this matter and spread the truth about marijuana. Marijuana, as most of you might not know, goes as far back to 2700 B.C. according to a Chinese manuscript. It was first observed in 1545 by European explorers that settled in the New World. It was such a useful crop to the early Jamestown settlers that they started its cultivation. They even went so far that they started giving farmers fines if they didn’t grow marijuana. During the early 1600’s marijuana was used for treating maladies like headaches, menstrual cramps, and toothaches. It became a common household drug. By the early 1900’s, during the Mexican Revolution, trafficking of marijuana opened up, which made the growth and transportation a whole lot easier and much more profitable.(Goldberg. 17) It even made its way to the black market. During these times was where it began on being used other than for medicine. (http://science. jrank.org/pages/4128/Marijuana-History.html) During the 60’s was where marijuana was worth to protest about. Crime rates never raised, and no major health problems occurred by the use of marijuana. It was said that there was no big evidence that marijuana lead to using harder drugs by the White House Conference on Drug Abuse. This was a time where decriminalizing marijuana was at the closest it has ever been. I appeal the legalization of marijuana because of its biased history. By the time the 70’s came about the war on drugs started showing its true colors in the political world. The Nixon administration decided to get involved, by Nixon’s personal hatred towards all illegal drugs. He somehow convinced Americans that the more arrests made on drug related charges the more the crime rate would go down. Since then, that has been the
campaign used to go against marijuana. It has even got worse. The more supporters that they got out of this lie the more people that were silenced. The 80’s became the Reagan administration’s rise against marijuana. In 1986, Reagan’s then-drug advisor, Carlton Turner, mentioned during an interview with Newsweek magazine that while visiting a drug treatment center, he found that 40% of the patients had committed homosexual acts. And so they brought it a step further making the cover of Newsweek that week read “REAGAN AIDE: POT CAN MAKE YOU GAY.” This was the most biased excuse that was made to make sure marijuana stayed unpopular to the public. Even though this was not necessarily accepted as a fact, it no doubt hurt the drug’s image even more in some people’s minds. (http://www.freestudentedu.com/free_essays_id_261_A-Brief-History-of-MarijuanaLegalization.php) Marijuana is not a narcotic and has never been a mentally or physically addicting drug. You could use small amounts for years without physical or mental deterioration . The main uses of marijuana were to act as a euphoriant. The accusation that it causes hallucinations from marijuana itself is totally false. Now if it was to be laced with an illegal hallucinogenic drug then yes it can cause such things. There have been accounts to where people felt no effects from smoking marijuana at all. (“Cannabis”. 179) But most tend to feel relaxed and sociable. They would also tend to laugh a lot. People against marijuana say that these effects are childish and make people live an un-serious life. Well when you look at the effect of being relaxed then that would mean it releases stress that the person may be dealing with. This could give that person a healthier lifestyle. Much better than taking anti-depressants. The effect of being sociable really would help people
to be doing things instead of being lazy. Studies have shown that most murders have been caused by people that lived an un-sociable lifestyle. So if this is true then wouldn’t that mean that marijuana is potential to decreasing a piece of the crime rate? Now even though marijuana has been known to be a dangerous use while driving, doesn’t alcohol do the exact same thing? (Croft. 115) Which brings it to the fact that alcohol and tobacco is legal and yet marijuana is somehow illegal even though marijuana is nowhere as dangerous as alcohol and the nicotine in the tobacco. Alcohol has been proven to be potentially as dangerous and possibly more than marijuana when it comes to driving. So could this really be a credible reason why marijuana should be kept illegal? Not likely! (http://www.studyworld.com/newsite/ReportEssay/SocialIssues/Political%5CCase_f or_Legalizing_Marijuana-92.htm) It was said by news editor of New Jersey weekly newspapers Hank Kalet that the war on drugs is nothing more than a failed policy of prohibition that was mainly focused upon urban blacks and Latinos. The effects that came out of this was only that it filled our prisons, overtax our police departments along with turning each every addict into criminals, which just ruined more of their lives throwing them in jail than it would’ve if they stayed addicts and seeked rehabilitation. This became the destruction of every person’s civil liberties. All because of neighborhood drug sweeps. There was also motor vehicle stops made based on the color of the driver’s skin and eased search seizure rules. And where does all this money going to from all the illegal drug sweeps, mainly marijuana since it was considered number one illegal drug over others? They spent about 70% of all federal anti-drug money on law enforcement and the control of our national
borders. The biased-based drug war became a policy driven by the belief that taking a hard line on drugs is what sells during political elections. (Drug Legalization. 80) And so here are the facts that could happen if marijuana was to be legalized. If this was to happen then the U.S. can put a tax on it and so the revenues can be used to bring awareness of drug treatment. The government spends around $8 million to keep this drug off the streets, so if legalized then there would be a huge decrease into the money spent on drug prevention and use that money for something well worth the use. 1/6 of the people in prison are non-violent marijuana offenders. The prisons have become overcrowded because of this and it costs a lot of money to keep these people in there. So if made legal the prisons will then have room to put more violent offenders in. (http://marijuanatoday.com/pros.php) And as of since 1996, the states Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington have legalized the use of marijuana for medical use. So now that part of the biased-given name to marijuana has been taken out, people will have a chance to bring the decriminalization of marijuana to the U.S. hopefully very soon. (http://ask.yahoo.com/20030718.html) So as you can see marijuana has had a rough and struggling history behind and to this day you will see that people speaking out on the truth towards this useful herb. My intentions are mainly to get it fully legalized for medical use for the people that really need it. But I’m hoping that I’ll get it as far as to be fully legalized for the use of anybody that wants to just smoke freely and have a happy and fun life. The possibility of legalizing marijuana is closer than you may think. We just need to keep speaking until our words are heard. We can do this. The truth will be spoken. Thank you for hearing me out.
A Brief History of Marijuana Legalization. Free Student Education. 12 Nov. 2008. Freestudentedu.com. <http://www.freestudentedu.com>. "Cannabis". The Drug & Natural Medicine Advisor. Virginia: Time Life Inc., 1997. Croft, Jennifer. "State Drug Laws". Drugs & The Legalization Debate. New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc., 1998. Goldberg, Raymond. "Issue 9". Taking Sides: Drugs & Society. Connecticut: McGraw-Hill Company, 2002. "Should U.S. Drug Policies Be Liberalized?". Drug Legalization. California: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 2000.